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My Aunt Lucy turns 102 this week

1909 photo of my family, including a young Lucy

My Aunt Lucy is turning 102 next week. Ok, so she’s technically my great-aunt or cousin twice removed or something, but we all just call her Aunt Lucy.

She’s one of the sweetest and most energetic people you could meet, and I really wish I could be there to celebrate the occasion with her. She lives in Kesh, Northern Ireland, close to both the border and extended family. They check on her frequently, though she still lives alone. I haven’t seen her in nearly a decade, but my dad calls her twice a month and I’ve sometimes been around to jump on the phone too. She has trouble hearing me, but it’s always great to hear her voice.

When I think of Ireland, the image I see is her serving tea and pastries to everyone that stops by; entertaining seems to be her favorite activity. It’s hard not to recognize hers as an idyllic life. In short, I <3 Aunt Lucy.

It’s interesting to consider how much life has changed for her over the last hundred years or so. I sometimes wonder how people process those changes—how does your frame of reference evolve over time to move from a rural, farming lifestyle to one punctuated by iPhones and Twitter? Sure, Aunt Lucy isn’t sporting the latest technology, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect her life. My relatives drop off emails and I’m sure she picks up a few commercials on the tele. I wonder how I’ll feel about massive changes like that when I’m that age, provided I last that long.

Every generation, it seems, looks back at the previous one with a bit of technological contempt for its ignorance and simplicity. I suspect that spending a century embroiled in technological revolution probably isn’t so easy.

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